Responsible gambling begins by choosing casino games, bingo, gaming machines and sports betting run by trustworthy companies that take following the law seriously. Compliant companies are those that have received and that continue to hold necessary licenses provided by the Gambling Commission and local authorities.
The Importance of Proper Licensing
Providers of commercial gambling, whether based in the U.K. or remotely, must have proper operating licenses. As the Gambling Act 2005 states, any activities that involve the ability to win prizes of money are gambling, and these undertakings must be run by a company with the correct license.
Once a license has been issued, the Gambling Commission will assume compliance activities on a regular basis to make sure that the gambling business is under constant compliance. These activities may include desk-based assessments, telephone inquiries or on-site visits. Gambling businesses found to be non-compliant with licensing requirements will either be put under immediate suspension or under review.
Regulatory actions for gambling companies that do not have licenses or that have mishandled their licensed activities include:
- An officially issued warning
- An attached condition to the license
- A removed or amended condition to the license
- License suspension
- License revocation
- Financial penalties from breached license conditions
Gamblers dealing with businesses that do not uphold their license requirements are subjecting themselves to the possibility of cheating, stealing and criminal offenses. There is no protection for gamblers who deal with unlicensed or penalized gambling casinos or websites. Therefore, it is very important that gamblers be aware of the licensing status of any businesses with which they choose to gamble.
When a gambling casino or online site submits its application for review by the Gambling Commission, it is evaluated based on available evidence and its personal merit.
The Gambling Act 2005 includes several objectives that must be met for licensing:
- Gambling cannot be a source of crime or disorder
- Gambling cannot be associated with crime or disorder, nor can it be used to support crime
- Gambling must be conducted fairly and with no concealment
- Gambling cannot harm or exploit children or other vulnerable people
In addition to these requirements, the licensing application must also adhere to several objectives and provide evidence of this compliance. These elements include:
- Identity and ownership proof for the gambling facility or game
- Financial circumstances in the past and present for anyone named on the application
- Integrity, honesty and trustworthiness of all people related to the application
- Competence, experience and qualifications to run the gambling business
All applicants are also asked about their policies and intentions for obeying these objectives. Once the Gambling Commission is satisfied with the application and its merits, a license will be issued either by email or in hard copy. An additional license is kept on file in the public register of the Gambling Commission for anyone interested in determining a gambling business’s status.
Holders of an official gambling license must pay an annual fee to maintain the qualifications.
The Role of the Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission was created to regulate and uphold the Gambling Act 2005, and its amendments in the Gambling Act 2014, in Great Britain and throughout the United Kingdom. The Commission has many responsibilities, including:
- Setting license conditions
- Creating and regulating codes of practice
- Licensing gambling operators and personnel
- Maintaining compliance activities
- Working enforcement and prosecution
- Providing advice for gambling outlets
With these actions, the Commission must also be careful not to prevent fair and legal gambling practices.
In addition to these function, the Commission is responsible for preparing, reviewing and publishing statements that make these principles clear.
Licensed Casinos and Gambling Companies
With these stringent requirements, there are many gambling sites and casinos that remain compliant. These responsible online casinos follow the protocol of the Gambling Act 2005 and meet the requirements set forth by the Gambling Commission. Therefore, these locations are safe and secure places for online gambling. Some of these responsible online gambling sites include:
- 888casino – Since its launch in 1997, more than 25 million people from around the world have used 888casino. With a self-described purpose to provide quality entertainment in a fun, fair and regulated environment, 888casino is one of the largest online gaming venues. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to participate, and 888casino is committed to not permitting inappropriate play, betting or distribution of promotional materials. The site focuses largely on its online poker games, allowing thousands of people to play at all times of the day and night. 888casino is headquartered in Gibralter, and it has a support team available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
- Unibet – By providing casino games, sports betting, bingo and poker games, Unibet is host to more than 14 million registered users. The company holds the appropriate licenses in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe and in Australia, and it is a founding member of the European Gaming and Betting Association. With more than 17 years of business experience, Unibet takes responsible gaming very seriously. By investing more than 200 million pounds in developing a secure and reliable platform, Unibet feels that its players are safe and protected from fraud and irresponsible behavior.
- All British Casino – With a wide variety of online games, as well as some virtual games of chance from live table game broadcasts, All British Casino offers its players very high payout rates in licensed activities. Customer service agents are available to answer questions about play 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. All British Casino has invested in its infrastructure to provide the latest technologies for its online systems, and it holds proper licenses from the Gambling Commission.
- bet365 – The 21 million worldwide players demonstrate the popularity of bet365, an online gambling company licensed by the Government of Gibraltar and the Gambling Commission. With games that include online game machines, casinos, poker and bingo, bet365 operates on a one-wallet system that keeps identities safe and secure throughout its gameplay. With secure server certificates and communications, bet365 maintains its online responsibilities.